Sunrise Children's Hospital February 24, 2017

A badge of courage takes on a new meaning when you are only four-years-old and undergo open heart surgery. In this case, the “badge” refers to the incision site on Caylee Guillen’s chest from the open heart surgery she underwent in January at Sunrise Children’s Hospital.

Caylee was 16-months-old when she was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect, Atrial Septal Defect (ASD), a hole in her heart. The diagnosis came as a surprise to her parents Valerie and Brian Guillen, who are both nurses. Prior to being diagnosed Caylee was developmentally advanced and at the top of the growth chart. Caylee had been feeling under the weather so her parents took her in for a checkup. This was when they were told she may have a heart murmur. After following-up with a specialist it was confirmed that Caylee had ASD.

At the time of diagnosis, Caylee had to wait until she grew a little more before it could be corrected. Caylee’s care experience at Sunrise Children’s Hospital began with a Cath Lab visit last October but due to the location of the hole in Caylee’s heart, she required bigger surgery several months later. Caylee underwent open heart surgery in January to repair the hole in her heart.

On pre-operation testing day, the family was greeted by a Child Life Specialist who offered a guided tour that addressed the experiences the family could expect once they came under our care. The Child Life Specialist also met the family at 5:30 a.m. on the day of Caylee’s surgery.

Along the journey, many other care team members offered their hearts to Caylee and her family, assessing each family member’s individual needs and meeting them without fail. “The Pediatric staff (at Sunrise Children’s Hospital) were second to none and made the most difficult time in our lives a bit easier,” said Valerie Guillen, Caylee’s mother.

At her follow-up appointment with her surgeon and cardiologist, the Guillen family was told everything looked perfect. Caylee is back to her spunky larger than life self. She calls her incision her “badge” and she wants to let everyone at Sunrise Children’s Hospital know how much she appreciates receiving her “badge” of courage.

February is American Heart Month which brings awareness to heart disease - something that not only affects big hearts but little hearts too.  Like Caylee, congenital Heart defects affect numerous children. congenital heart defects, are the most common type of birth defect in the United States and in most cases, the cause is unknown. 

About Sunrise Children’s Hospital:

Sunrise Children’s Hospital is the largest, most comprehensive children’s hospital in Nevada that also serves the surrounding region and millions of visitors that come to Las Vegas.  Sunrise Children’s Hospital offers a full range of specialized services, including Nevada’s only pediatric open heart surgery program, a dedicated Pediatric Emergency Department, the largest Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) in the state, a dedicated Inpatient Pediatric Unit, and Obstetricians and Pediatric Intensivists in-house 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  Sunrise Children’s Hospital is located on the same campus as Sunrise Hospital & Medical Center – Nevada’s largest acute care facility. Sunrise Children’s Hospital is a member of the Sunrise Health System, which includes Sunrise Hospital, MountainView Hospital and Southern Hills Hospital & Medical Center. For more information, follow @SunriseHosp and

Sunrise Children’s Hospital
3186 South Maryland Parkway
Las Vegas, Nevada 89109